Hwy 97 single lane

UPDATE 5:11 a.m.

Highway 97 is now open to single lane, alternating traffic with RCMP escort and up to 20 minutes delay. Alternate route via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3.

UPDATE 11:45 p.m.

Highway 97 is now closed between Peachland and Summerland, according to Drive BC.

It’s not known when the highway will reopen, but DriveBC says motorists on Thursday morning should expect 1-2 hour delays. The next update is expected at 2 a.m.

The Mt. Eneas Wildfire has jumped the roadway in some areas and RCMP were escorting groups of about 30 vehicles through the scene at a time for most of Wednesday night.

UPDATE: 9:15 p.m.

Highway 97 is now open to single lane alternating traffic with RCMP escort between Peachland and Summerland.

Drivers are advised to expect lengthy delays, up to two hours.

An alternate route is by Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3.

DriveBC said the next update will come at 7 a.m. on Thursday.

UPDATE: 8:15 p.m.

DriveBC reports Highway 97 is open to single lane alternating traffic with RCMP escort between Peachland and Summerland.

Expect heavy delays. Next update at 9:00 p.m.

UPDATE: 7:57 p.m.

The raw video captured by Keven Tameling shows open flames jumping the highway along Highway 97 entering Peachland from Summerland. 

“RCMP are piloting motor vehicles back and forth, through the portion of Highway 97 south of Antler’s Beach, which is presently impacted by the wildfire,”said  RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“Our officers will continue to escort motorists in alternating directions, only when it is safe to do so and the public should prepare for sudden closures for undetermined amounts of time,” he added. 

Motorists are advised to  regularly check DriveBC for updated information, and consider planning an alternate route to alleviate traffic congestion.

UPDATE: 7:10 p.m.

DriveBC reports that Highway97 is open to single lane alternating traffic with RCMP escort between Peachland and Summerland.

Motorists should expect heavy delays.

UPDATE: 5:40 p.m.

A Castanet reader says about 30 people are being escorted by RCMP through the smoke-filled section of Highway 97 below the Mount Aeneas fire south of Antlers Beach.

Police are shuttling motorists in alternating directions in an effort to alleviate the congestion and get people home. Fire is burning on both sides of the highway in sections. 

Motorists should expect heavy delays. 

UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.

Highway 97 has temporarily re-opened to singe-lane traffic between Summerland and Peachland.

"As a short term measure, RCMP have opened the highway to single-lane alternating traffic with RCMP escort," DriveBC says. 

The release adds the highway is expected to be closed "for the night" beginning at about 8 p.m.

At that point, the fastest alternate route for drivers would be through Princeton — via the Okanagan Connector, Highway 5A and the Crowsnest Highway. 

Smoke from the highly-visible Mt. Eneas wildfire has created poor visibility along the section of the highway.

The fire is believed to have started during Tuesday night's thunderstorm. The BC Wildfire Service has not provided an estimate on the size of the blaze.

- Colton Davies

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m.

A motorist stuck in the closure says flaggers and RCMP are shuttling people in cruisers to safety due to the poor visibility along Highway 97.

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

DriveBC reports Highway 97 remains closed between Peachland and Summerland due to a Wildfire and poor visibility. 

There is no estimated time of opening, next update at 7:00 p.m.

A detour is available through Princeton via Highway 97C, Highway 5A, and Highway 3.

RCMP have been called to assist the BC Wildfire Service with the immediate closure of Highway 97 near Brent Road, in the vicinity of Antlers Beach in Peachland.

"The closure was necessary for the safety of the public due to a wildfire burning towards the highway,"RCMP stated. 

RCMP are urging the general public to avoid the area for their own safety, and well-being, as well as the safety and well-being of emergency personnel operating in the area.

RCMP are also reminding the public that they must stay clear of firefighting aircraft that are collecting water from our lakes in the region, including Okanagan Lake.

ORIGINAL: 4 p.m.

DriveBC reports Highway 97 in both directions between Peachland and Summerland is closed due to a forest fire.

A detour is available via Highway 97C, Highway 5A, and Highway 3.

There's no estimate on when the highway will reopen. 

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